A great way to encourage children to enjoy eating vegetables is to teach them how to grow their own garden. Chloe’s and Zachary’s parents built two garden boxes in their back yard, one for each child. The children planted their first garden in the Spring, watered it diligently and watched with excitement, their garden grow before their eyes. They were recently rewarded with strawberries, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans.
Innocently unbiased and ferociously inquisitive, Chloe and Zachary will ask to taste all the ingredients in its raw form no matter what it is. When I cook with them, I guide them on what they should or should not try and am thrilled they are willing to try everything. What a wonderful way for the children to appreciate the true flavors of raw vegetables and understand how their flavors can change when cooked or seasoned.
My Roasted Corn, String Beans, Tomato and Cucumber Orzo Salad was inspired by Chloe’s and Zachary’s garden. The vegetables in this recipe are either raw or lightly cooked so their freshness can be enjoyed.
This salad can either be served as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course. Add chopped roasted chicken for a protein-rich main course.
- 1 cup dried orzo pasta
- 2 ears fresh corn, roasted
- 1 pound green beans, blanched
- 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed, stemmed, and cut in half or thirds depending on size
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Pinch Salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Cook orzo in boiling water for 8-9 minutes until barely tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Husk corn and roast on grill until some of the kernels are evenly browned on all sides. Remove the corn kernels by holding each cob upright on it’s stem and carefully running a sharp knife down the cob over a large bowl. Add cooked orzo.
Cut green beans into 2-3 inches. Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Green beans should still have a crunch. Drain and place in ice water. Drain again and add to orzo and corn.
Cut cucumber in half. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumber halves into thirds or quarters lengthwise. Then cut into ½ inch cubes.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half or thirds depending on size. Add cucumber and tomatoes to orzo, corn and string beans.
Rough chop parsley and add to orzo mixture.
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Add salt and pepper and whisk again.
Pour over orzo and vegetables. Toss well. Allow the orzo salad to sit for at least 1 hour to absorb the flavors of the dressing.